A Quintessentially British Day Out!
Why is it that we all love a good village fete? Tombola’s, lucky dips and bric a brac, it is the personification of everything British. Our own village fete also includes prize cattle, tractors and a fabulous tea tent. Of course, no fete would be complete without bunting which usually adorns the village green and either flaps in the breeze or (all too often) sags in the rain!
Bunting from http://www.presentlocker.com/
Here’s our top tips for putting on a Great British Fete …
Tug of War
Originally a royal sport played in Ancient Greece, India, and China mimicking the sun and moon’s fight over light and darkness, his game is now played by adults and children alike. . Beware: serious ‘tuggers’ should chalk dust their hands before the cries of “Heave! Heave! Heave!” begins, as rope burns – as well as grazed knees and grass stains – are a hazard.
Cream Tea is certainly not limited to fêtes, but is an English summer necessity. Taken with a pot of tea, the afternoon bite usually consists of a scone or two served with cream and jam. The big question is “Jam or cream first?” Tea is takendifferently in certain parts of the country: spread your scone with jam before covering with a dollop of cream for a ‘Cornish split’as in Cornwall, or coat with cream before adding jam for the Devonshire alternative. Now you know.
Raffle & Tombola
At country fêtes the prizes are often locally made jams and juices if you’re lucky, or knitted animals and questionable bottles of wine if you’re not. Sometimes tickets can be obtained by spinning the tombola when tickets are grabbed from an opening in the top which is invariably too small for most human hands.
Encouraging the camaraderie f the traditional fête are the sack race, the egg and spoon race and the three legged race. All are suitable for any age and are equally dangerous, hilarious, and humiliating (tip: if you’re a first-time three-legged-racer, be sure to pick a team mate of the same height as you).
Sack Race Kit from http://www.presentlocker.com/outdoors/sports-day-potato-sack-race-kit/
Summer fêtes will often include either a ‘best Victoria sponge cake’ competition or a ‘grow the largest vegetable’ competition. Victoria sponges must be moist, made with butter and definitely not oil or margarine, must be filled only with homemade jam, and are usually decorated with icing sugar sprinkled through a doily for a chintzy stencil effect.
This English folk dance dates back to 1448, and today men and women still wear the traditional bell pads on their knees or ankles and dance a rhythmic step accompanied by the waving of handkerchiefs, clacking of sticks, or even crossing of swords!.
Attempt to throw a wooden ring so that it lands around one of a set of blocks to win a prize! At less friendly fairs, the game may
be set up so that your rings cannot fit around the blocks whilst the stall worker uses his ‘coping’ ring (seemingly a replica of
yours) to demonstrate how the game works – although luckily conmen are not a common characteristic of country fêtes.
As most English countryside villages are deep in mud for 70% of the year, it’s no wonder that this piece of essential footwearhas grown its own tradition. Legend has it that the game originates from the village of Upperthong in Holmfirth, where one evening an argument in the local pub ended in one party taking off his welly and wanging (throwing) it at the other as he chased him outside. The boot flew so far and the scene was so comical that villagers proceeded to re-enact the scene over the coming weeks, until it eventually became a friendly game.
So that’s our top tips for a successful Fete. Have the Best of British Time!